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Accelerating Monte Carlo simulations with an NVIDIA graphics processor

Paul Martinsen, Johannes Blaschke, Rainer Kunnemeyer and Robert Jordan
The Plant and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Hamilton, New Zealand
Computer Physics Communications, Volume 180, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 1983-1989

@article{martinsen2009accelerating,

   title={Accelerating Monte Carlo simulations with an NVIDIA{textregistered} graphics processor},

   author={Martinsen, P. and Blaschke, J. and K{\”u}nnemeyer, R. and Jordan, R.},

   journal={Computer Physics Communications},

   volume={180},

   number={10},

   pages={1983–1989},

   issn={0010-4655},

   year={2009},

   publisher={Elsevier}

}

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Modern graphics cards, commonly used in desktop computers, have evolved beyond a simple interface between processor and display to incorporate sophisticated calculation engines that can be applied to general purpose computing. The Monte Carlo algorithm for modelling photon transport in turbid media has been implemented on an NVIDIA 8800GT graphics card using the CUDA toolkit. The Monte Carlo method relies on following the trajectory of millions of photons through the sample, often taking hours or days to complete. The graphics-processor implementation, processing roughly 110 million scattering events per second, was found to run more than 70 times faster than a similar, single-threaded implementation on a 2.67 GHz desktop computer.
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